1. Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.

Vacuum Bag Selection Criteria

Discussion in 'Slicers, Grinders, Tools, Equipment' started by shooterrick, Dec 5, 2010.

  1. shooterrick

    shooterrick Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Many of us have been using vacuum sealers for a long time.  For those who are just now beginning or thinking of beginning to use this form of packaging your smoked products and sausage you will soon discover that the cost of the machine is small in comparison to the cost of plastic bags over a short period of time. 

    I have put together a discription of the criteria I have found useful for myself trying to balance quality and price.  Original FoodSaver bags are a great quality product but the last box I purchased was 47.00 from Wally World.  If you figure the price per foot that comes to about 80 cents a running foot for rolls of bag material. 

    Quality:  Unless you have a very expensive commercial vacuum packaging machine, the kind that holds the bag entirely enclosed in a chamber you have a channel or snorkel type home use machine.  All home use machines I have seen or used require a textured feature in the bag material to fully pull a vacuum.  Some generic bag rolls have just a center strip of texture material while others are fully textured on one complete side of the roll.  The completely textured side is the most desirable as air pockets which must be manually pressed to the center are less likely to occur. Material thickness should be at least 3mils and 4 mils will resist tearing from sharp corners like bone better and are most likely going to allow you to wash and recycle them several times. Of course the plastic material should be FDA approved for home use.  No home use machine material is approved by the FDA for packaging for resale.  You may get away with it for awhile out in Podunc Nowere but sooner or later you will be looking at hefty fines so don't do it.   


    You will find that most home use machines can handle roll material from 6-11 inches wide.  Many commercial machines will take a bag widths up to 15 inches plus.



    When figuring price add in the shipping and figure your cost per foot of material.  You will soon discover that what may look like a great deal isn't.  This is sometimes the situation with large bulk size rolls.  A 50 ft roll of 8 inch wide material may look like a good price until you add in shipping and figure the actual cost per foot.  I recently bought eight 20 ft rolls of material at 27 cents a foot.  Three 50 ft rolls with shipping would have cost me 34 cents because of shipping.

    Some links you may find useful and don't forget to check out the auction sites. 



    Last edited: Dec 6, 2010
  2. scarbelly

    scarbelly Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member

    In addition to what Rick has posted about bags I want to add something that we have done for the last 15 years with great success to get the most out of our bags. We make all of our bags at least 15" long.  This allows us to remove the food turn the bags inside out and wash and dry them for repeated uses. We get an average of 7 uses out of each bag this way and it cuts way down on how many bags we need to buy
  3. dale5351

    dale5351 Smoking Fanatic

    We have found combination kits of food saver bags at our local warehouse store (BJs) that are a much better buy than those in regular commercial stores, including Walmart.  I don't remember the exact cost now, but if you have access to such a store you should look there for bags and bag rolls.
  4. adiochiro3

    adiochiro3 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thanks y'all.  I would not have thought to reuse these bags!  what a nice idea.  Gosh, I love hanging around this site!  [​IMG]
  5. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Theses day we have started tring to re-use the bags and with the food saver system the bags are smaller but they can be washed pretty easy. But I like to wait for a sale and sometimes you can ever caught them just right and I have gotten as much and 40% soetimes more off the bags. Plus we have a svaer and so does our kids so we can buy in bulk and save even more.
  6. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Great Post Rick!


    And to think, I've been throwing them away.

    Thanks Scar!

  7. uncle kenny

    uncle kenny Fire Starter SMF Premier Member

    Thank you for the informative post. We have struggled with our FoodSaver for years; fragile bags do not stand up to the rigors of freezer life. We will often see 50% failures within a few days, mostly in the seal. I will add that our FS is 20 years old but generally puts up about 100 bags per year.

    Now that I have been smoking for a while I think our volume will go up and wonder what members here think about the performance of chamber vacs? Besodes the cost issue, what advantages might one expect from a machine like this: http://www.cabelas.com/product/ARY-VacMaster174-VP210-Vacuum-Sealer/716012.uts

    I am really tired of digging through the freezer to find my beautiful smoked salmon badly freezer burned in a failed bag! Thanks for any comments.
  8. nwdave

    nwdave Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Give these a look as well.  http://www.vacuumpacker.com

    Once in a while, you can buy a reconditioned one on SMF site or someone will post a link for one on sale.  I have a reconditioned one and am very happy with not only the sealer but the seller as well.
  9. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

  10. smoke dawg

    smoke dawg Fire Starter

    The best deal we have found is to order the food saver bags direct from food saver online. They have some good deals and send cupons for even better deals.